GS 2


  1. Meeting of Vaccine Panel

Why in News

Recently, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 held its first meeting to consider the logistics and ethical aspects of procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccine.

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist has cautioned against ‘vaccine nationalism’ and held that it is in everybody’s self-interest to take an equitable approach to vaccine distribution and deployment.

Key Points

  • India would leverage domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity as well as engage with all international players for the early delivery of vaccines in India and also in low and middle-income countries.

Discussions were held on:

  • ‘Conceptualisation and Implementation Mechanism’ to create a digital infrastructure for inventory management and delivery mechanism of the vaccine, including tracking of the vaccination process, with particular focus on the last-mile delivery.
  • Financial resources required for procurement of vaccines and various options for financing the same.
  • Available options in terms of delivery platforms, cold chain and associated infrastructure for the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination.
  • India’s support to its key neighbours and development partner countries for vaccines.
  • This group is also expected to deliberate on the availability of a vaccine to Indians after it is fully developed.
  • The Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune is in the process of developing around 100 million doses by the end of 2020 but it is not clear how many of them will be available to Indians.
  • The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to the SII to conduct Phase II/III clinical trials of Covishield in India.
  • Russia has also given regulatory approval to its home-grown vaccine (Sputnik V). However, details on its early trial performance are not available and Indian officials have not commented on whether there is any India-Russia partnership to either test or procure the vaccine.

Vaccine Nationalism

  • Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other
  • This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer.
  • Countries like India, the USA and Russia have not joined the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, which was launched by the WHO to promote collaboration among countries in the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.


  • It would be impossible for the world to go back to normal and for the economies to recover if only pockets of people are protected as it will create imbalance by allocating vaccines to moderately at-risk populations in wealthy countries over populations at higher risk in developing economies.
  • During the Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic, high-income countries cornered vaccines leaving very little for low-income countries.
  • They gave up some of their stockpiled vaccines for distribution in low-income countries only after knowing that the pandemic was not so serious.
  • Covid-19 pandemic is far severe as apart from the other spreading methods, there is a fear of aerosol transmission too which could happen in certain situations in what is called as “opportunistic aerosolisation”.
  • In opportunistic aerosolisation, airborne infections transmit under favourable conditions like a closed environment and poor ventilation where the virus could circulate in the environment for hours.
  • It disadvantages countries with fewer resources and low bargaining power and deprives populations from timely access to vital public health
  • Vaccine nationalism also runs against the fundamental principles of vaccine development and global public health which involve several parties from multiple countries.


  • The first batch of the vaccines should be made available to all frontline, health and social care workers, police and others who are at high risk of getting the infection, instead of the otherwise healthy adult 10% of all infections have occurred in healthcare workers and it would be unfair not to protect them before everyone.
  • Vaccines distribution can learn from the example of the WHO’s Solidarity Trials in which 25 countries participated and over 6,500 patients were recruited.
  • Pre-purchase agreements and contracts should not trump equitable access to global public health goods and developed countries should pledge to refrain from reserving vaccines for their populations during public health crises.
  • International institutions, including the WHO, should coordinate negotiations to produce a framework for equitable access to vaccines during public health crises.



  1. UAE, Israel reach agreement to establish diplomatic ties

Why in news

The United Arab Emirates has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel.


  • The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
  • The development caps years of discreet contacts between the two countries in commerce and technology.
  • The so-called “Abraham Agreement”, announced by United States President Donald Trump, secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to build settlements on lands sought by the Palestinians and embraced a Trump proposal that would allow him to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank while granting Palestinians limited autonomy in other areas.
  • For the UAE, it further polishes its international campaign to be seen as a beacon of tolerance in West Asia despite being governed by autocratic rulers.
  • Delegations would meet to sign deals on direct flights, security, telecommunications, energy, tourism and health care. The two countries also will partner on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It is believed that opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economics will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations.


  1. India announces $500mn package for the Maldives

Why in news

Responding to a request from the Government of Maldives, India has announced its support in the implementation of the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP in the Maldives).


  • The financial package comprises of a new Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 400 million and a grant of USD 100 million.
  • New connectivity measures for the Maldives, including air, sea, intra-island and telecommunications, have been announced by India.
  • It is an effort to help Maldives deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among the initiatives announced are an air connectivity bubble for travel, a direct ferry service, a submarine cable for telecom connectivity and assistance for GMCP.
  • GMCP would be the largest civilian infrastructure project in the Maldives.
  • GMCP will consist of a number of bridges and causeways to connect Male to Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands.
  • It will take much of the pressure off the main capital island of Male for commercial and residential purposes.


  • The President of Maldives, thanking India, termed the assistance, a landmark moment in Maldives- India cooperation.
  • When completed, the project would render the Chinese-built Sinemale Friendship bridge connecting Male to two other islands insignificant in comparison.


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